About 2,500 incidents of unruly passengers have been reported to the Federal Aviation Administration so far this year, according to the agency.
Since Jan. 1, about 1,900 of those reports of unruly passengers have been about people who refused to comply with the federal mask mandate, according to the FAA.
Reports of unruly behavior have gotten so bad, the FAA was forced to enact a zero-tolerance policy that has since been extended. Any passengers who "assaults, threatens, intimidates, or interferes with airline crew members" can face a fine as well as potential jail time.
This week, the FAA said it proposed civil penalties from $9,000 to $15,000 against five airline passengers. In two of those cases, passengers allegedly assaulted flight attendants, the agency noted.
In one instance, a main-cabin passenger on a February JetBlue flight from Miami to Los Angeles was fined $15,000 after she allegedly yelled obscenities at a flight attendant and hit him with her body, nearly knocking him into the bathroom, the FAA noted. The captain was then forced to divert the plane to Austin where she was removed.
In another incident, a passenger was fined $15,000 after they allegedly pushed a flight attendant as the crew were walking down the aisle, checking to make sure everyone was wearing their masks on a Jan. 7 Alaska Airlines flight from a Washington D.C.-area airport to Seattle.
So far this month, the FAA has proposed a total of $258,250 in penalties, USA Today reported.
The FAA has identified potential violations in 395 cases and initiated enforcement action in 30 cases, according to Reuters.
While mask requirements have been lifted for fully vaccinated people in many instances, the Transportation Security Administration has extended the federal mask mandate on public transportation, including on airplanes and in airports, until at least September.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.
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